Irashaimase! Had the opportunity to be there at the Grand Opening of Oishi Batchoi, ‘the well loved Batchoi with a Japanese twist!’ last 27th of May 2016. Now open to serve the Ilonggo public at the L/G Floor Diversion Road, Expansion Building SM City Iloilo. The grand opening featured Oishi Batchoi’s very own Chef Benjie Garcia, also known as ‘Chef Benjie-San’ – the man behind the delectable union of Iloilo’s ‘Lapaz Batchoy’ and Japan’s ‘Ramen’. Upon entrance, I can’t help but notice the lengthy narrative of the history of Chef Benjie San and his journey to Oishi Batchoi. Here is an excerpt of their story:
Who would not know Batchoy? – Known as Lapaz Batchoy, it is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chickenstock, beef loin, and round noodles. This original dish caught the attention of Chef Benjie Garcia who used to work in Japan for more than twenty (20) years as an Executive Chef. His love and passion for food made him dream and wander to someday launch his own kind of restaurant, where he can utilize his skills in preparing exquisite food by introducing fusion-type product.Ramen is a staple product in Japan. The traditional way of preparing the broth or Ramen soup is by boiling pork, chicken and beef bones for at least 18 hours. Some spices are added to enhance the taste. The Ramen soup can be added with either Shio (salt), or Shoyu (soy sauce), or Miso (soybean paste). Miso is the most popular. This knowledge on making delicious Ramen soup, made Chef Benjie-San realize his dream. He concocted his own version of Batchoy, by emulating the meticulous way of preparing broth, the Japanese way. He used Japanese Miso (soybean paste), giving the soup not only a sweet and savory taste, but also with tons of health benefits.
Upon entrance, the ambiance exploded from an ordinary Ilonggo mall to everything Japan. There was a distinct confusion – how can something Ilonggo be acquainted with Japan. Chef Benjie-San’s story says it all.